Cavalleria Rusticana at the Edmonton Fringe Festival

Cavalleria Rusticana at the Edmonton Fringe Festival. Photo credit: Christina O'Dell

Cavalleria Rusticana at the Edmonton Fringe Festival. Photo credit: Christina O’Dell

Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni
August 11 – 14, 19 – 21 at Holy Trinity Church
More information:

An interview with Christina O’Dell.

Describe your show in five words.

Big, loud, dramatic, emotional, operatic

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?

Cavalleria Rusticana centres around Turiddu, who returns from military service to find his love (Lola) married to another man (Alfio). To revenge this betrayal, Turiddu proceeds to seduce another woman in the village (Santuzza) in an attempt to make Lola jealous. As the opera progresses, these characters descend into a heart-wrenching spiral of love, betrayal, revenge and tragedy.

You describe Cavalleria Rusticana as an “opera masterpiece with music to die for”. What can audiences expect from the music and vocals of Cavalleria Rusticana?

In bringing Cavalleria Rusticana to the Fringe Festival, we hope to provide a very unique experience for audiences. It is an amazing one act opera that is filled with soaring arias and emotion-filled duets, in addition to arguably some of the most beautiful music ever composed for operatic chorus. We are particularly excited to be bringing the iconic “Easter Hymn” to life at Holy Trinity Church; in addition to our powerhouse principle cast of 5 and talented chorus of 14, this piece will be supported by an orchestra of 4 which includes piano, oboe, cello, and the newly restored Holy Trinity Pipe organ. It is a big, rich sound that audiences don’t often encounter at Fringe!

Audiences may think of dialogue-based work when thinking of the Edmonton Fringe Festival. What is great about seeing or presenting this opera at the Fringe?

I think that the Fringe provides audiences with a very safe environment to perhaps experience opera for the first time; it is relatively short yet packed with drama, and as such is a great introduction to the genre as a whole. We understand that some people may be concerned by the fact that the show is presented in Its original Italian, but never fear! English subtitles will help translate the text for people, as will the summary in the program. Honestly though, I think people will be pleasantly surprised by how operatic music can transcend translation; the magic of opera is that the meaning of the words come out in the very fabric of the music itself! Music is, after all, a universal form of communication!

This is Pop Goes the Opera’s inaugural production. Can you tell us a bit about how Pop Goes the Opera was formed and what you aim to accomplish?

We decided to form Pop Goes the Opera earlier this year for three main reasons. Firstly, to showcase and celebrate the amazing operatic talent that we have right here in Edmonton! Secondly, to give us more chances to perform together; many of us are good friends who perform together during the year in the Edmonton Opera Chorus and various choirs and musical theatre groups around the city, and we wanted an excuse to continue making music together over the summer! Lastly, we all wanted the chance to share our immense love of this unique art form with Fringe audiences. Opera is our passion and sharing this passion with audiences is what brings us together as friends; this show is a labour of love for us!

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

I would encourage audiences to give opera a shot! Even if you don’t consider yourself an “opera person”, let us surprise you! Opera is so relevant and powerful, and I promise that the experience of hearing the full, unadulterated power and range of the human voice is truly a magical thing!

The 35th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 11 – 21. Get your tickets at

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